Samsung Clones ‘Jet Black;’ HTC May Leave Smartphone Biz; Amazon’s Clarkson Show Has Big Debut; Electric VWs to be Made in USA

In the past, when Samsung has just plain poached Apple ideas and designs, it’s been a big hit for them. (It’s also hit them in the wallet sometimes, as Apple has sued and won.) Now, Samsung is going to clone Apple’s hot “Jet Black” color. According to bgr.com, they aren’t even waiting for the Galaxy S8….they will roll out Jet Black S7 models as soon as next month. Hey, it’s hard to get sued for using the same color!

HTC has made some really cool phones, and I have several friends that have had them and loved them. They haven’t really caught fire…figuratively…not in the Galaxy Note 7 way, however. Digitaltrends.com says rumors are flying now that HTC will bail out of smartphones completely by this coming spring. They have quietly been shopping the division around, but nothing so far. It wouldn’t be out of the question for Google to snap them up, since the success of the new Google Pixel phones.

Yesterday, Netflix snarked that Amazon hadn’t really paid $160 million to produce their ‘Top Gear’ type show titled ‘The Grand Tour,’ saying it was more like $250 million. The show, starring Jeremy Clarkson, and his former Top Gear colleagues, debuted Friday. It was the biggest premiere ever on Amazon Prime Video, according to businessinsider.com, eclipsing ‘The Man in the High Castle.’ Not only that, it was the top rated show on IMDB with a 9.6 and got 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Amazon says it got the second most one day sign ups for Prime ever last Friday. Sounds like a hit!

Volkswagen says they will begin building electric vehicle models in North America,and even the US by 2021. Techcrunch.com picked up a report from Automotive news, citing VW brand lead Herbert Diess. Vee Dub will also build large SUVs and limos here. The Mexico factories will also crank out EVs for the North American market.


Bigger, Thinner MacBook Air Coming; Amazon Unveils Delivery Drone

There may be new, thinner MacBook Airs on the way by next June, including one with a 15 inch screen. 9to5mac.com reports that they will sport substantial internal changes, including battery, cooling modules, and more. Apple is still deciding whether to keep the 11 inch air, with the new iPad Pro now out.

Amazon has revealed a new delivery drone design with a 15 mile range. Geekwire.com says its intended to be able to deliver a small package directly through the air to your doorstep in 30 minutes. Amazon has a new video showing off the drone featuring Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson, who along with his colleagues, is starting a new car show for Amazon. The version 2.0 drone flies at under 400 feet, and weighs less than 55 lbs. Amazon says it won’t launch Prime Air until they are able to demonstrate safe operations.

AmazonDrone V.2.0


Apple Eyes Jumping into Producing Original Programming

As they showed when they came out with the iPod years ago, somewhat late to the mp3 player party, only to dominate that category, and later did with smartphones, Apple is eyeing getting into producing original programming. According to bgr.com, the Cupertino colossus has held early talks with Hollywood execs. It’s not known if they are looking to do TV series, movies, or both. What is known is that they’d be muscling in on the likes of Netflix and Amazon. Apparently, Apple bid on picking up the ‘Top Gear’ stars when they left BBC, but Amazon won the day, and Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richarad Hammond will be doing an automotive show for them. Some speculate at this point that Apple may build its own content capabilities, or even buy a studio outright.

Lately, radio commercials have been promoting Uber, and have featured people who drive for them singing the virtues of the flexible working conditions offered by being a contractor. A report in geekwire.com may point to why. A Seattle council member has introduced legislation that would let Uber, Lyft, and cab drivers unionize….gasp! That thought alone has sent chills through the so-called ‘sharing economy.’ The plan would allow drivers taking part in a minimum of trips to join a driver representative organization, and negotiate to make the $15 an hour Seattle minimum wage, plus other benefits.